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Queen - Queen II CD (album) cover




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4.36 | 743 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
5 stars It's my 500th review! To celebrate all of the amazing music I've discovered by finding this website and its reviewers, I thought I'd celebrate by talking about what I consider my best find in a long time... the theatrical, amazing, energetic, jaw-dropping, memorable, and all together unexpected surprise that is Queen II.

First, a bit of background. I think that Queen came into my awareness from the scene in the film "Wayne's World" (I was about 11 years old then). "Bohemian Rhapsody" has a lot of nostalgia for me, heck, all of Queen's hits do, because they're great! Queen is an mainstay of classic rock FM, and I can sing along to pretty much anything that comes on. Unfortunately, none of the songs on Queen II will ever be played on the radio again. This means that, had I not been curious about its high rating here on PA, I probably never would have decided to check it out, being content to belt out "Somebody to Love" and call it good.

Queen II came out in 1974, a great year for Prog, and while Queen put in enough art and complexity and ambition into this album to make it stand-up next to other "real" Prog bands of the era, this is probably one of the most enjoyable records in my entire collection. It's a blast to listen to.

The opening guitar textures gives way to a dramatic opening filled with pomp, heavy riffing, powerful vocals and great guitar work. "White Queen" is just perfect, using elegant vocals and guitar textures to create a feeling of awakening or unveiling, building to another dramatic high. It's genuinely amazing at how good Queen is at filling their songs with music; "White Queen" is only 4.5 minutes long yet it feels as complete as other prog epics.

The next two tracks or sort of the "normal" songs, and while they disrupt the epic flow of the album, they're definitely not filler. "Some Day One Day" uses warm guitar strumming and melodic bass work to great a pleasant tone, and "The Loser in the End" is feedback filled, fuzzy, quirky, and enjoyable; sort of a forgotten gem.

Then... holy cow, what may be the best 17 minutes I've ever heard.

"Ogre Battle" is a huge, noisy, intense, playful, dramatic, shocking, and memorable art rock spectacle. The band plays at maybe they're most aggressive ever. Incredibly tight and ambitious, this song will grab hold of you, smash you like an ogre, and leave you begging for more.

Oh you want more! "Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke" is playful and bouncy, featuring non-stop melodies and fun rhymes thrown into a storm of vocal overdubs and time signature changes. Mercury's harpsichord and singing will leave you addicted.

So you're addicted, eh? How about you come down to the soulful elegance of "Nevermore," an achingly beautiful ballad impeccably performed by Mercury's voice and piano, accompanied by the melodic bass of Deacon. A dramatic and emotional crescendo that makes one just weep for the loss of Mercury's talent and wonder how the album could possibly get any better.

Here's how it gets better: "The March of the Black Queen." This song is so packed with drama, sweeping melody, lush crescendos, and Brian May at his absolute best with numerous solos and positively irresistible riffing. Scratch that... the entire band is at their absolute best. The dynamic transitions are some of the most memorable and beautiful and energetic I've ever heard.

The album closes with the wonderful "Funny How Love Is" and "Seven Seas of Rhye," which while not quite as dramatic are a satisfying conclusion to what has become one of my favorite Prog albums.

If you're never heard Queen II, give yourself what I hope will become a cherished gift and check it out today!

That's it for my 500th review! If you've read this far into my gushing review - thanks, you're one of the reasons that Prog Archives is such a great place to share and discover music.

Songwriting: 5 - Instrumental Performances: 5 - Lyrics/Vocals: 5 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 6!

Prog Leviathan | 5/5 |


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